The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.55
WINTER2017

Pork & asparagus pie.

The Larder at Burwash Manor two miles south of Cambridge calls this dish ‘filetto di maiale e prosciutto in crosta,’ which seems excessive and unnecessary. The Larder is not particularly Italian, but rather sells a broad range of items, most notably of English origin; local organic vegetables and meats, prepared foods, kitchenwares and the like. Perhaps the Italification of the name reflects a vestige of the culinary cringe the British used to suffer at the sight of their own foodways.

The recipe itself, which appears in The Cambridge Cook Book, does not originate at the Larder, but rather has been provided to them as a promotional tool by the Cambridge Cookery School which, however, declines to post recipes at its own website.

Nothing about this pork pie makes much sense except the recipe itself. It pairs pork with English asparagus rather than the Cuban’s pickle, wraps them in prosciutto--you could improve the character of the dish by substituting English ham or bacon--and encases the composition with shortcrust. If that sounds like a British description, it sounds about right.

This is of course a species of pie and a good one but be not daunted. The recipe is both easy and forgiving, and it may, as the Cook Book notes, “be prepared in advance and kept in the wings ready to go.” Four servings.


 asparagus.gif

For the pastry:

  • ½ lb flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • a beaten egg

For its filling:

  • a pork tenderloin (usually weighing a little under a pound)
  • salt and pepper
  • about 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • about ¼ lb asparagus spears
  • 8 or so slices good ham

  1. Make the pastry by throwing everything but the egg in a food processor and blasting the contents until they look like breadcrumbs.
  2. Drizzle just enough water into the processor to bind the dough, roll it into a disc, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it while you assemble the filling for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°.

  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper, rub in the sage, top the meat with asparagus and wrap them in the ham.
  2. Roll out the dough to the length of the pork and drape it over the filling, “tucking it in under the meat. It doesn’t need to be completely sealed.”
  3. Glaze the pastry with the egg and bake it until the crust turns golden, usually in about 40 minutes.

Notes:

-The quotation of course is from The Cambridge Cook Book.

-The original recipe uses fresh rosemary instead of rubbed sage and that herb is pleasant too.